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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Laundry and its Spiritual Significance

As I look at the mountains, and I do mean mountains, of laundry that are filling every possible space my house I have to wonder how? How can six people make such a mess? Is it really all six of them or just a select few who are the messies? I also wonder if all of these clothes are really being worn or if they are just thrown around to distract me from the fact that the kids always seem to be in the same clothes. I mean really, can they wear that many clothes in a week? Seriously.

Anyway, as I was looking forlornly at the pile of laundry that was growing higher and higher in my front room, I began wondering what God was trying to teach me. I knew that had to be some great spiritual awakening just waiting for me if I could only figure it out. I set my mind to work and not my hands to try and flesh out this fleeting idea that laundry has meaning. When my daughter walked by, I was struck by something. No, she did not throw anything at me, I noticed her clothes. It was then that the spiritual significance of laundry came to me.

How can laundry have a spiritual significance, you ask? Well, some think that you are blessing the wearer of the clothes by washing, folding, and putting away their laundry. You can even pray for them while you are doing said laundry. How about counting your blessings while doing laundry? Yes, those are all good ideas; but, they are not what I am talking about and not usually what I am doing while I am doing someone else’s laundry!

You see, my children all have favorite pieces of clothing. You know the ones that they wear constantly and cry over when they are forced to wear something different. It doesn’t matter if they are clean or not, they will wear them. Full of holes and stains, yup, they will wear them. They feel comfortable in them; they feel pretty and confidant in them. So much so, that they will dig them out of the dirty laundry and put them on again. I think they would keep doing this over and over if I didn’t offer, or force however you want to say it, to wash them myself. And sometimes they will even turn down my offer just to keep wearing them. More than occasionally their desire for comfort outweighs their need to be clean.

Now, I want my children to feel confidant and pretty and comfortable, I just want them to do it while they are clean! That’s not too much to ask, right? I mean, I want what is best for my children even if it makes them uncomfortable sometimes. Not to mention the fact that it reflects favorably on me when they look nice and poorly when they look stained and holey.

I pondered all of this while I sat staring at the pile of clean clothes. Then, a still small voice whispered to me a thought so convicting that I tried to push it away. Ever the gentleman, the Holy Spirit waited for me to invite him back and then waited patiently while I tried to come up with reasons that it wasn’t true for me. When I finally stopped struggling, the truth washed over me.

Here is the spiritual significance: We as sinful people have our ‘clothes’ of pet sins that we continually put on even though we know that they are ‘stained and holey’. We will choose to keep ‘putting on’ the sin instead of allowing our Father to clean them for us. How many times have I cried to my Father about digging something out of the trash and wearing it again because I was too scared to change. How often have I begged God to let me be for one more day because it was the ‘only way that I knew’. We are creatures of comfort and will avoid all situations that cause us to see ourselves for what we really are. It is uncomfortable to admit that we need to change our ‘clothes’. We like to be comfortable and we all want to feel pretty. What we can’t seem to understand is that our true beauty is not based on what our ‘clothes’ look like but on who God has created us to be. We can not fully realize that until we allow our Father to have our sins and to wash us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Then he will give us new ‘clothes’ to put on that will make us more beautiful that we could ever imagine.